Learning & Development Asia 2024
Real median income growth in Singapore improved to 2.1% in 2022

Real median income growth in Singapore improved to 2.1% in 2022

However, this growth remained below that of the years preceding the pandemic, when inflation was lower, the Ministry of Manpower’s Research and Statistics Department noted.

Singapore recorded a real median income growth of 2.1% in 2022 – an improvement from the 0.9% recorded in 2021, recent statistics have shown. 

However, according to the Labour Force in Singapore Advance Release 2022 published by the Ministry of Manpower’s Research and Statistics Department (MRSD), this growth remained lower than that in the years preceding the pandemic (3.8% per annum between 2014-2019), when inflation was lower. 

Per the findings, workers earning lower wages saw stronger income growth than the median worker, in lieu of tripartite initiatives such as the progressive wage model. Additionally, the real income for the 20th percentile workers recorded a 4.8% increase in the year, which the report noted is "faster than the previous year (4.4%) as well as the pre-COVID years (2014-2019: 4.4% per annum).

With this, the P20 to P50 income ratio rose from 0.53 in 2021 to 0.55 in 2022, the highest since 2004.

Unemployment rates declined over the course of 2022

Looking at unemployment – Singapore recorded a drop in the unemployment rate of professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs) and non-PMETs over the course of 2022, recent statistics have shown.

In particular, according to the report, the rate for PMETs saw a decline from 3.4% to 2.6%, while that for non-PMETs declined from 5.1% to 4.4%. The long-term unemployment rate in Singapore also decreased to around pre-COVID levels for both PMETs (0.8% to 0.5%) and non-PMETs (0.9% to 0.7%) year-on-year.

On the other hand, looking at employment – in 2022, the employment rate for residents aged 15 saw an increase for the second consecutive year, standing at 67.5%. This, the report stated, was 2.3 percentage points higher than the pre-COVID rate in 2019. If ranked against Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries on overall employment rate, Singapore would place third, the report added.

In that vein, the report also highlighted the share of residents who were in PMETs roles this year. In total, 64% of all employed residents in the year were PMETs, a slight increase from the 62% recorded in 2021. According to MRSD, this higher share "reflects a highly educated workforce and sustained employment growth", seen sectors including information & communications, financial & insurance, and professional services.

Sharing his views on the report findings, Minister for Manpower Dr Tan See Leng said: "Notwithstanding the improvement in our labour market, the economy may still be affected by inflation and uncertain geopolitical conditions. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and stand ready to provide assistance to companies and workers where needed.

"I urge all to make full use of government programmes in your transformation efforts to build a resilient workforce with sustainable wage growth."

Photo / Minister for Manpower Dr Tan See Leng's Facebook

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